Author Archives: Jess Zafarris

About Jess Zafarris

Jess Zafarris is the Director of Content Strategy and Online Content for Writer’s Digest and ScriptMag. Her eight years of experience in digital and print content direction includes such roles as editor-in-chief of HOW design magazine and online content director of HOW and PRINT, as well as writing for the Denver Business Journal, ABC News, and the Memphis Commercial Appeal. She spends much of her spare time researching curious word histories and writing about them at UselessEtymology.com. Follow her at @jesszafarris or @uselessety on Twitter.

A Roll of the Dice

In the spirit of taking chances, roll two six-sided dice. Whatever number comes up, write down the first word you can think of with that many letters. Repeat six times. Incorporate these six words into a story or scene and see where it takes you.

Awry

Write about a situation in which plans go awry, leading to disastrous consequences. Did you go to college anticipating success, only to flunk out? Does a character fall in love with the wrong person, leading to a difficult breakup? 

Unfairy Tales

Write a scene that involves a fairy tale trope turned on its head or otherwise deviating from typical expectations. For example: A princess who’s cruel to her kind stepmother; a golden goose that lays explosive eggs; a big, frightening wolf who really just wants a friend.

Secrets Within

The police come to your residence with a search warrant. But somewhere inside, there is something you don't want anyone to find, ever.

Character Content

Consider what it means to be "judged by the content of your character." Write a scene in which an individual is not judged by the content of his or her character, but by something else entirely. It doesn't have to be skin color, but perhaps another physical attribute or factor beyond...

Give Them a Hand

Write a scene about a conversation or another interaction, and include a focus specifically on the characters' hands. Include the appearance of the hands, as well as the way they move and gesture. What do the hands say about the personalities involved?

Spent

He wasn't supposed to know about that $20,000 at all, yet somehow he got his hands on it—and spent all of it in less than an hour. What the **** are we going to do now?

Twice a Day

Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Give some good advice from a completely unreliable source, and convince someone to take this advice.